The Godber Theatre Foundation is an initiative, founded by Martha Godber, aiming to support a select number of young people from the Hull and East Yorkshire area who are studying Drama and Theatre Arts. This will be realised through financial support, mentorship and professional experiences.

Each year, The Godber Theatre Foundation will award a small  number of students the opportunity to partake in the fund’s programme alongside their degree-level training in the Arts, offering them mentorship, industry seminars, professional experience and financial aid. The aim is to develop their career during and after training; we are only too aware that the Arts is one of the most difficult industries to break into, particularly if you are from a working class background.

Our foundation seeks to support talented individuals on their journey to achieving their career goals. The Godber Theatre Foundation will also give the recipients a unique credit on their professional CV.
John and Jane Godber have been working with young people in Hull for over a quarter of a century, and have seen many students they have worked with go on to have successful careers and gain places at leading drama schools. The Godber Theatre Foundation will continue this legacy.

What we Offer

  • Continued support and personal mentorship, alongside their degree-level training.
  • Contacts and connections to industry professionals, in order to inspire, support and offer unique opportunities.
  • Free tickets and invites to John Godber Company events, and associate company events.
  • Invitations to observe JGC rehearsals and other upcoming productions.
  • Becoming a member of a Facebook group and community giving the individuals the platform to communicate with each other and share opportunities.
  • A John Godber Company merchandise
  • Access to an ‘library’ database to borrow relevant books and plays.
  • Academic support
  • Funds available to pay for additional course costs.

The recipients will have the opportunity to apply for funding each year,  if they require financial support with any of the above. Our goal is to give the individuals as many unique opportunities as possible. Although we will take a number new applicants each year, we wish to continue to support all recipients of the foundation in years to come after they graduate and as they progress in their careers.

While some funding is available to all recipients, we wish to highlight that the primary purpose of The Godber Theatre Foundation is to provide support, industry connections, and creative opportunities.

Meet the team

Andrew Lincoln – Patron

“I’m delighted and honoured to be a patron of The Godber Theatre Foundation. Supporting and developing young talent from Hull and East Yorkshire. I’m very proud of my connections to this part of the world and still have friends and family living nearby. To give support and guidance to young actors from brilliant mentors like John and Jane is a rare gift. I know without the experience and energy of similar community spirited individuals when I was growing up, I certainly wouldn’t be an actor today.
It’s vital that we support and develop young talent from all backgrounds across this country, in order to continue the rich and diverse cultural legacy that makes our nation great. “

Martha Godber – Founder

“Growing up in a theatrical family, I was very lucky to have unique opportunities, such as sitting in on rehearsals and having conversations with professional actors and theatre practitioners to whom I could always reach out to for advice.  I am very aware of the benefits this gave me in terms of developing my own career as an actor and my ambition is to give similar opportunities to other young people at the start of their career. This inspired me to launch The Godber Theatre Foundation in order to support promising  young creatives from my area. When starting my own drama school training at LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) in 2015, I soon became aware of the number of compulsory additional costs the course required, for things such as script fees and headshots. Not to mention the Spotlight membership subscription in my final year (a vital CV platform actors need to step into the creative industry) or gown hire prices at graduation. Sometimes, it could just be the cost of a theatre ticket, or a train fare home. It is often hard for drama students to get a job as they have a large number of contact hours. Having been through drama school training recently, I feel I am in an excellent position to relate to student’s needs.”

John Godber OBE

“I was born into a working class family in the West Yorkshire coalfields in 1956. My father was a miner and my mother was a part-time school dinner lady. I wanted to play football and rugby but I became fascinated with literature and theatre at school, and started to write short scripts and appear in school plays. I eventually trained at Bretton Hall College, Wakefield and became a qualified drama teacher. After postgraduate study at Leeds University I began to teach in a tough Comprehensive school, the one I had attended as a student. In 1984 I left teaching to run Hull Truck Theatre Company and led it from bankruptcy into a new £15million theatre in Hull’s City centre. In 2010 I set up the John Godber Company to continue to tour my work nationally and regionally. We have been supporting young people with an interest in the theatre unofficially for many many years, now The Godber Theatre Foundation creates a more permanent platform to help young people from the area I live and work in. I hope our significant educational and industry links will prove useful to those who are successful applicants to the foundation.”

Jane Thornton

“I grew up in West Yorks and went to school near Skipton in North Yorks which entitled me at age 16 to audition for the North Yorkshire County Youth Theatre. I gained a place and worked with them over three consecutive summers alongside a couple of other budding young actors; Nigel Betts and Mark Addy. Working with a professional director in a number of theatres, I was also introduced to warm ups, theatre games, working in traverse, youth theatre festivals and a myriad of other opportunities that were not easily available to me coming from the background I did. The experience also meant that when I auditioned for a place at Bretton Hall College to study for a degree in Drama, I was better equipped to respond to what they were asking from me. I also felt more confident because I had already been part of something special and Andy Breakwell our director from York Theatre Royal had written me a reference. He had believed in me.  What I am saying is  that I know for sure that when someone you respect takes the time to open up your world, put a metaphorical arm around your shoulder and inspire you to take the next step it makes so much difference to what you can achieve. Since graduating from Bretton as well as acting, writing  and directing  I have won two BAFTAs for Best Schools Drama and Best original Writer  for Children’s TV. I have worked with young offenders, written plays and programmes for both primary and secondary schools, worked as teacher and workshop leader, run my own award winning youth theatre and supported many young people in applying for drama schools.”



Each year The Godber Theatre Foundation will take up to 10 applicants from the Hull and East Yorkshire area to be part of the programme.

For an individual to apply for the foundation they must meet various criteria:

  • Be studying Drama, Acting or a form of Theatre Arts at degree level.
  • Submit a 250 word piece of writing OR a 2 minute video about yourself and why being a part of The Godber Foundation could help support you alongside your training and in the future.
  • Submit a self taped monologue of up to two minutes of a piece of your choice. Or if you are studying playwriting please submit a piece of original writing for theatre of up to 500 words. Alternatively a digital portfolio if you are studying design or tech.
  • Be from Hull or East Yorkshire.

Please note if including video submissions these are to be provided as a youtube or Vimeo link. 

If a student’s application is successful, they will be invited to an interview (via Zoom if necessary). The Foundation will take up to 2 weeks to decide on the success of each applicant and if a student is accepted they will be notified via email and receive a welcome pack.

Applications are now closed

For questions and enquires please email: foundation@johngodberco.co.uk

Foundation Recipients 2020